Thales developing deployable instrument landing system for Air Force

Military air traffic control experts at Thales Defense & Security Inc. in Clarksburg, Md., are moving forward with developing a deployable aircraft instrument landing system (ILS) for precision aircraft approach and air traffic control worldwide in difficult conditions.

Nov 1st, 2016
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HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. - Military air traffic control experts at Thales Defense & Security Inc. in Clarksburg, Md., are moving forward with developing a deployable aircraft instrument landing system (ILS) for precision aircraft approach and air traffic control worldwide in difficult conditions.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., announced a $14.1 million order to Thales to build three Deployable Instrument Landing System (D-ILS) production-representative units as part of a risk-reduction effort.

The D-ILS is to provide a system of equal performance to existing Category I fixed-based systems that provide aircraft guidance on final approach in low-visibility and low-ceiling weather conditions.

The order is a modification to an $18.4 million contract the Air Force awarded to Thales in July 2015 to build two D-ILS prototypes for operational test and evaluation.

Thales is developing a deployable aircraft instrument landing system to help aircraft land in bad weather and in difficult terrain.

Air Force air traffic control experts used the original two D-ILS prototypes for operational test and evaluation of a fixed-based instrument landing system at tactical airfields and at airfields where permanent ILS capability has been disrupted by events such as natural disaster.

Thales will provide deployable glide slopes, deployable localizers, and containers for the electrical gear.

While a fixed-base ILS is large and requires several aircraft to deliver all the equipment, the D-ILS will fit onto one C-130 aircraft, Air Force officials say. Thales is to finish development and provide ready-to-deploy D-ILS capability by mid-2017.

The Thales D-ILS will provide precision guidance to fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters in separate environmentally diverse regions. Each system will provide guidance based on the aircraft's position in relation to the final approach course glide path from the touchdown point on the runway or landing surface.

The goal is to provide the Air Force with supportable, adaptable, resilient, enduring, and persistent precision-approach capability that all joint, coalition, and civil ILS-equipped aircraft will be able to use worldwide.

The D-ILS will provide significantly improved reliability, maintainability, and supportability over legacy deployable Precision Approach Radar (PAR) systems, Air Force officials say.

The Thales D-ILS will offer remote monitoring and maintenance that allows for maintenance configuration from remote locations. It would involve setting up a remote maintenance center in theater for central depot storage of all maintenance items to sustain D-ILS installations at several different airfields.

On this order, Thales will do the work in Clarksburg, Md., and should be finished by January 2019.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit Thales Defense & Security online at www.thalescomminc.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.wpafb.af.mil/aflcmc.

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